This post is by the Rt Hon Lord Barker of Battle, minister for energy and climate change from 2010 to 2014.
As we waited last week for the final agreement to emerge from COP21, David Cameron celebrated his tenth anniversary as leader of the Conservative Party, a position won in part because of his call for a fresh, ambitious approach to the environment. His government has now been at the heart of the international efforts that secured an historic climate deal in Paris. Read more
This post is by Ben Goldsmith, founder of green investment business WHEB and chairman of the Conservative Environment Network. It first appeared in The Spectator.
Those on the left tend to think that British Conservatism is a derivative of US Republicanism. But environmental policy shows that it’s a far more pragmatic mix. The latest Conservative manifesto encompasses George W Bush’s marine conservation ambition and Obama’s selective interventions to raise the pace of clean technology innovation. This partly reflects the fact that the environment is still a largely non-partisan issue in British politics, but also that Cameron has protected discrete space for Conservative modernisers to bring forward new green ideas. As one of them I’m pleased with the progress we’ve been able to make. The manifesto commits our party to making ‘almost every car a zero emissions vehicle by 2050′, it reconfirms support for the Climate Change Act and promises to set up a ‘blue belt’ of massive international marine reserves. Read more
This post also appears in the current edition of Utility Week.
I was having dinner with a former US colleague when I realised how far UK leadership on the environment had weakened. I used to feel pity for US environmentalists, and now I felt a twinge of envy. She described the meticulous preparation of the Obama’s team before its recent announcements on climate change, the rallying of movers and shakers to back up the White House push, and I was reminded of how effective political leadership could be in forging a new policy direction. It seemed impossible a year ago that the US would give up on its high carbon ways and now it seems normal that it is regulating against new coal power plants, the biggest point source of carbon. Read more